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This rare Sherlock Holmes film was released at the same time as the Raymond Massey picture "The Speckled Band". The story is partly based on two Conan Doyle short stories: "The Final Problem" and "The Empty House".
Sceptical about the potential success of the film, the producers sold the rights to the film to "First Division Pictures" for 800 pounds. The film was released in July 1931 under the title "Sherlock Holmes' Fatal Hour". It was very successful, running for over a month on Broadway, which was unprecidented for a British produced programmer.
Reviews hailed the film for "bringing the real Sherlock Holmes to the screen." This prompted 4 more movies in the series The Missing Rembrandt (still considered lost), The Sign of Four, The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes and The Silver Blaze/Murder at the Baskervilles.
This film was deemed lost when the only known print went missing after being shown at a Sherlock Holmes Society reception for Arthur Wontner in 1955. The version presented here is pieced together from two separate prints to create the longest and best quality version of the film. There are noticable differences between the two prints. The lesser quality print is only used to fill in minor sections that were missing or incomplete in the better quality version. It has the US title "Sherlock Holmes' Fatal Hour" on screen. The quality is still not optimal, but it is a major improvement from the versions previously available.
This movie is part of the collection: The Video Cellar Collection
Director: Leslie S Hiscott
Producer: Julius Hagen
Production Company: Twickenham Film Studios
Audio/Visual: sound, B/W
Keywords: Feature Films; Sherlock Holmes; Arthur Wontner; Ian Fleming; The Sleeping Cardinal
Contact Information: <a href=http://www.archive.org/details/TheVideoCellarCollection>The Video Cellar</a>
Creative Commons license: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0
|Movie Files||MPEG4||Ogg Video||512Kb MPEG4|
|The Sleeping Cardinal||
|Image Files||Animated GIF||Thumbnail|
|The Sleeping Cardinal||
|Other Files||Archive BitTorrent|
This is not a fast paced film, and it has some flaws, but it held my interest in part because of its position in the history of film making. Note the stationary camera work and complete lack of outdoor shots. The actors are well trained and good at their craft, though I thought Dr Watson was a bit stiff. I guessed who Dr Moriarty was about 20 minutes in. However, I wanted to see how the tale unraveled. Given its historical context, I award this film 4 stars.
Subject: I enjoyed the movie
Ok, the storyline was a tad weak but the acting was solid. I really enjoyed watching this mystery and loved the twists. This movie doesn't have the frantic pace of a modern show but it is all the better for it.
Subject: Excellent Sherlock Holmes' Movie with Arthur Wontner
Excellent plot and acting. Arthur Wontner as Sherlock Holmes and Ian Fleming as Dr. Watson head a very strong cast. Arthur Wontner does as well or maybe even a little better than the other excellent actors playing Sherlock Holmes - hard to really tell. At any rate, enjoy this movie, which I consider a real gem!
Subject: Best Holmes?
I've always read that in Britain Arthur Wontner is considered the consummate Sherlock Holmes. I didn't used to believe it but after seeing this and some of his other films I see what they mean. He is Holmes -- perhaps more than Rathbone or Brett. Definitely a must see!
Subject: The title is apropos
Why does the Cardinal sleep? He must have tried to watch this movie. I did suffer through the entire film and found it to be dreary and slow.
Holmes concludes that a man found dead has been murdered. Watson believes it was a suicide. I do believe that had Holmes considered the possible embarrassment suffered by the victim over having been seen in this dreadfully awful movie, he might have agreed with Watson.
I give it one sympathy star.